Thomas E. Lovejoy is a conservation biologist who has worked in the Amazon since 1965. He was the first to use the term “biological diversity” (1980). He serves as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. From 2008-2013 he was the Biodiversity Chair at The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment (a non-profit institution dedicated to improving the scientific and economic foundation for environmental policy through multi-sectoral collaboration among industry, government, academia, and environmental organizations). He was President of the Heinz Center from 2002-2008.
In 2010 he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University.
In the past, he served as Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for the Environment for the Latin American region for the World Bank, as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation, as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental and External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution, and as Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund-US. He retains his link with the Smithsonian as a Research Associate of the Smithsonian National Zoo/Conservation Biology Institute.
He conceived the idea for the long term study for forest fragmentation which is the world’s largest experiment in landscape ecology, originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and is the founder of the public television series Nature. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. (biology) from Yale University, is past president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, past chairman of the United States Man and Biosphere Program, and past president of the Society for Conservation Biology.
In 1998, Brazil awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of Scientific Merit.
In April 2001 he received the John & Alice Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
In 2009 he was the winner of BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category.
In 2012 he received the Blue Planet Prize.
He serves on numerous scientific and conservation boards and advisory groups including: the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, Institute for Ecosystem Studies, EcoHealth Alliance, Woods Hole Research Center, World Wildlife Fund Council, Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), Population Action International, FBDS (Fundação Brasileira para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável), Costa Rica and United States of America Foundation (CRUSA), Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Sanctuary, and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.
In 2009 he was appointed Explorer by the National Geographic.